This is a response to the Fireplace OC challenge. This was kind of fun to write, even with the deadline...

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Disclaimer: I do not own Dothack

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This is ridiculous. This is absurd, insane, unbelievable, and – and some other words I don't remember right now…though I could probably figure out a dozen more if I wasn't running for my life!

Seriously, though…aren't games supposed to be fun? I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere: the dictionary, maybe. Right there in the definition of the word 'game'. Fun had been in there.

THIS, on the other hand…

"Come on, little man! Why're you running? Don't you want to hang around and play?"

Damn it, doesn't that Mohawk-wearing psycho ever shut up? If I'm running away without a backward glance, what do you THINK I want to be doing?

Stop - don't think. Just keep going.

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…Play…it's another word for game…the other word for fun…this might just be me, but I'm starting to dislike this version of fun

Too bad I can't go any faster…unfortunately for me, a PC body only goes up to a certain speed. Lucky I decided on the middle-sized Beast tribe instead of the big slow one or the little slow one - I'd be dead already if I were any slower. Dead like tres and Henako, my party members…

"This n00b's a pain, boss! How much longer until Catboy figures out that he can't lose us by going in circles?"

Oh, so sorry that I'm taking so long for you to kill. Why don't you just give up and go find someone else to beat on…and – and don't call me a Catboy you smirking bastards!

Suddenly "The World" goes all spin-cycle on me. It goes around…and around and around anddamnthesegraphicsI'mgonnahuuuuurrrlllll

It takes me a second after I roll to a stop before I catch on to what just happened. I…tripped. I just tripped. I think it was over a rock.

…What kind of online game makes people running for their lives suddenly trip over rocks?!

Just as I manage to get my feet back under me, I'm surrounded on all sizes. These guys are leering at me, like I'm some big, juicy piece of meat and they're all hungry dogs…

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I officially hate rocks.

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"What's wrong, Cat-man? You're shaking in your boots! LOL"

"Hurry up and put the damn n00b out of his misery. I want to watch the new Online Jack already..."

"Sure thing, boss!"

Gotta get away, gotta get away…hey, isn't that a gap over there?

…IT'S A GAP! And with one desperate lunge later, I'm free! Freedom, sweet and beau…shit.

…Apparently, it only counts as freedom if you don't mind being a foot away from a psycho-Mohawk, which I think I do. As for psycho-Mohawk, he doesn't even bother with that big sword he's been lugging around – one swift kick and I'm eating even more virtual dirt.

"Awww, now ain't that touching! Y'know, if you wanted me to PK you so bad you should've said so before, n00b!"

Mommy…I scoot backwards, still on my rear, as psycho-Mohawk stalks up to deliver the coup-de-grace. I keep going, even when he stops walking suddenly…until I bump into something.

Not another of these kill-happy nut jobs, I hope. I dare to take my gaze off psycho-Mohawk to see who or what I've bumped into now.

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I wish I hadn't.

So many spikes…all black and spikes and there's RED all over the spikes, like - like blood – and I'm right against this gigantic thing that looks like the mutant love child of a gigantic sword and a chainsaw – and next to it is the spiked guy and SHIT HE'S LOOKING RIGHT AT ME!

I scream like a little girl and cover my head. It's gonna hurt, it's gonna hurt BAD when he kills me…!

The giant sword-chainsaw-thing takes a chunk out of the ground with – pelting me with virtual pebbles as it goes – and I brace for my pending horrible death.

One swoosh later, somebody screams like a little girl.

It takes a second to realize that that wasn't me this time.

I dare to take a quick look, to see what's taking this incredibly scary guy so long to finish me off…and nearly shit myself.

The scary guy was swinging his giant sword-chainsaw-thing, sending the bastards that had been chasing me flying. Just look at the distance he got with that last one! He goes soaring out and lands in the water with a big splash - definitely a home run.

The rest of the bastards meet equally sudden deaths, one after another, until the only one left standing is my buddy psycho-Mohawk. Technically, he's not standing per se - it's more of a 'lying flat on his back, whimpering pathetically' position.

This might just be a feeling I have here, but I think that giant sword-chainsaw-thing pressed against his chest might have something to do with the whimpers.

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And now the scary guy finally says something.

"Do you know Tri-Edge?"

…What's a Tri-Edge?

"…Th-The hell? Wh-What?"

Not the answer that the scary guy wanted, apparently. The giant-sword-chainsaw-thing gets pushed down onto psycho-Mohawk's chest a little bit harder.

"Do you," repeats scary guy, "know Tri-Edge?"

Even his voice is scary…

"Shit, I don't know nobody! I swear! Just don't – DON'T –"

Whatever he was going to say next gets drowned out when the chainsaw part of the giant-sword-chainsaw-thing turns on. I cover my eyes and wish I could cover my ears as the buzzing changes pitch. It sounds like it's having some trouble cutting through the gristle - bad mental image, very bad!

It's worse when the sound suddenly shuts off. I feel sick over how weirdly intensive this is getting - I like I can't even hear the background music anymore - and the footsteps slowly making their way over to me are coming through my headset REALLY loud and clear.

I think I'm doing pretty well at keeping my composure, as a matter of fact – at least until he decides to stab the giant sword-chainsaw-thing back into the ground right next to me.

"Idon'tknowanythingIswearpleasepleasepleasepleasepleasedon'tkillme!"

"…Get up, idiot."

I uncover my eyes and peer upwards. The scary guy is glaring at me…but he's not about to rip me apart like he did to those other bastards…I think…

I climb to my shaky feet and try brushing some of the virtual dirt off my pants. Damn, I look like I've been rolling around on the ground…which is technically true…the dirt will be gone when I go back to the Root Town, right?

The scary guy's still glaring at me. Then again, maybe that's just what he normally looks like…maybe he's just using a scary-looking PC. I mean, no one in real life has eyes that look like that, do they? I didn't think so before, but…

"Uh…thank you? For…saving me?"

"I didn't do it for you."

Not a nice attitude this guy has, that's for sure…

"I can still appreciate being…y'know, not-dead…"

It's tough, trying to hold a conversation with a guy that looks like he'd rather rip you apart than chitchat. He's apparently not going to wait all night for me to give up trying, either.

"Do you know Tri-Edge?"

"…I don't know anything – no really! I just started playing two days ago!"

He doesn't take his hand back off the hilt of the giant sword-chainsaw-thing and he's eyeing me suspiciously... I wonder if there's some way I can really convince him that I'm not lying – I'm way too low for this field, wouldn't that be a hint? I really don't want to try running away from this guy, I don't think I'd get far at all…

In the end; the giant sword-chainsaw-thing vanishes with a flash of light. In response, I sag with relief. I get to live...yay…

The next thing he does is turn and start stalking his way towards the nearest platform. I look around the field – nothing but dead PCs all over the place. I think I can see one floating over in the sea…well, now to go and find tres and Henako and revive them…

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I don't have anything to revive people with. Stupid expensive potions I can't afford…and before these kill-happy bastards interrupted, I'd only made a tiny amount of money from fighting monsters, so there's no way I can afford to go to the Root Town, buy whatever magic reviving potion there is, and come back.

…I must have a death wish. This is the only possible explanation.

"Uh…excuse me! Hey, can I ask you something?"

Scary guy stops, looks over his shoulder, and I have to work very hard not to lose my nerve altogether.

"…C-Can I – Can I borrow a potion or something from you to revive my party members with? I'll…I'll pay you back, honest!"

He's looking at me as if I've lost my mind. Which is a distinct possibility…but who else can I ask?

Eventually he throws something at me. I catch it – barely – and he resumes his stalking to the platform and warps out of the field. I don't bother hiding my sigh once he's gone. It was nice being saved, but couldn't it have been someone…I don't know, a little nicer maybe?

I head on over to the other side of the field where the bodies of my party members have been patiently waiting. Well, tres has…Henako's PC is gone.

"Nice of you to come back for a visit…"

tres' voice, coming over the party chat, sounds extremely bored. I hurriedly explain what's been going on as I use the item the scary guy threw at me – and I haven't even seen this one in the Mac Anu shops before – to revive tres. He sits up and frowns at me, eventually waving a hand and bringing my words to a halt.

"It sounds like you got really lucky there, n00b. Next time, though, just use a platform and get the hell out of the field…instead of running in circles like a total idiot, y'get me?"

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All this and more lecturing follows. Apparently, just because I am an idiot n00b is no reason for me not to take this game seriously. Henako, tres mentions eventually, logged off almost right after she got PKed. It seems that people hunting you down and killing you are perfectly normal in this game.

…But how can you consider a game where people do things like this to be normal?

Once we return to Mac Anu, tres goes to find himself some non-n00b company. I decide to wander around and see if I can find either of those two people who helped me on my first day here. That guy Kuhn and his friend Silabus…maybe they can explain what the deal is with this game.

Because honestly, if this is the kind of game "The World" is, I don't think I really want to play.

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